How to Sand a Floor

After all the articles I’ve written on how to prepare for floor sanding, you now need to know how to sand a floor. The sanding phase can be broken down into 3 phases – rough sanding, medium sanding, and fine sanding. The process required through each of these phases is discussed in this article along with an important note of caution. Make sure you have all the right materials and machines. And open the windows before you start to keep the ventilation going.

How to Sand a Floor – Rough Sanding

how to sand a floor - first stageRough sanding is the first sanding stage – especially needed for really rough floors. You may have to go over the floor a few times before all the old finish is removed. I recommend using a 24 grit sandpaper the first time around. Then change over to a 40 grit. When you start the machine, make sure the sandpaper isn’t touching the floor and never stop moving the machine whilst running with the sandpaper touching the floor. You will sand an unwanted groove in the floorboards! Move it forward and gradually lower it until the sandpaper makes contact with the floor. Push the floor sander to the other end of the room. When you get there lift the sandpaper off the floor and swivel the machine around and go back over the sanded area again. Keep doing this until all the old finish has been removed.

wood floor sandinghow to sand a floor - portable edge sander - edge sanderWhen the old finish is gone, move over to the next line – making sure the machine overlaps with the previous line about 7-10cm. Keep repeating this process until the entire floor has been sanded and all the old finish has been removed. Remember to try and get as close to the walls as possible without actually touching them.

When the main surface area has been sanded, do the edges with a portable edge sander. Use the two different grit papers you used for the main area. Do the corners by hand and scrape out any dust from the corners. Vacuum out as much dust as possible so that it doesn’t mess up the finer sandpaper in the next step.

How to Sand a Floor – Medium Sanding

how to sand a floor beltsander sandpaperDuring the floor sanding stage, we used a 24 and 40 grit sandpaper. Now that the old finish has been completely removed, this step is considerably easier. You basically repeat the same steps, but using an 80 grit sandpaper on both the belt sander and edge sander. Remember to do the corners with the 80 grit as well. You should only have to go over it once. You will find that the floor comes up really smooth after this stage. You will still need to vacuum afterwards in preparation for the final sanding stage. Also try to get dust off the walls, windows, fans etc because it can fall down on the wet finish later on – causing issues.

How to Sand a Floor – Fine Sanding

howtosandafloor - fine sandingWhen you get to this stage you are almost done! Using the same technique as in the previous stages go over the floor, edges and corners with a 100 or 120 grit sandpaper. This will make the floors come up beautifully smooth. Once done, you need to do a super clean. Suck and wipe up dust off every surface. I can’t stress how important this is.

So there is is – how to sand a floor in three steps. I wanted to say ‘easy’ steps, as it is easy for me after 16 years as a professional floor sander. But I can see how it can come across as being a bit confusing. No doubt you have questions, so please feel free to ask them below in the commenting section. I will do my best to answer them for you. And if you are in Brisbane, read this post to see the cost of floor sanding in Brisbane, whether you’re doing it yourself or decide to hire a professional.

After the sanding is complete, you are ready to learn how to polish the floor. That will be in my next post!